A patent application has surfaced that shows Apple’s attempts at creating a new way for a flash to work on a camera. The way the new flash works is very intriguing, a user can select a dimly lit area of the photo and the camera will try to illuminate just that area with the flash. The way Apple is attempting to accomplish this is similar to the way the autofocus works on the iPhone 4 where you can touch the screen in certain areas to focus on that area. Instead you will be able to light up that area with the flash. This is accomplished by the camera flash passing through a ‘redirector’ so the flash can be placed in a different location other than directly center when a photo is taken. Now the brightness of the flash can also be taken in consideration with the ‘evaluator’ pictured above which intelligently considers how much light needs to be added to the picture to attain the best possible results. The ‘scene condition’ detector is also pictured above which adds more analysis to the picture taking process. The scene condition detector checks the ambient light levels, measured distance from the object, and supposedly many more factors before the button is pressed to take the picture.
The picture above depicts the flash that will be used and how it will accomplish the different light angles. It seems that they are using an array of flash sources to accomplish the said angles. The patent says that the flash source will be LED lamps having their own flash lens or other optical structure that can perform as pictured above.
If Apple does add this to the new iPhone or iPad it will be fun to play with and again raise the bar for Android and other smartphones.